How to Attract and Hire Your Agency Dream Team

By Jason Swenk on June 30, 2021

Anna Shcherbyna is the CEO of Remotivate. Leveraging her decade of experience in Business Operations and International Recruitment, Anna’s recruitment agency helps online businesses hire remote staff worldwide. They handle all the due diligence relating to candidate communication, arranging interviews, discussing salary expectations, and conducting reference checks. Today, she joins us to talk about how to find and attract your agency’s dream team. She shares why some job search platforms are better than people may think, why it’s better to invite candidates to apply for your agency, and why you should never hire for the fire.

3 Golden Nuggets

  1. Create a process. After going through profiles in some of the job search platforms (our guest recommends a few good ones) instead of going straight to interviewing the candidates, try to have a process in place. Identify 5 requirements for success in the position. You can incorporate that into a questionnaire, a skill test. This weeds out candidates who don’t care enough. Finally, ask them to create a video. This will answer so much, from their motivations to what do they say in the video and how they say it.
  2. Be in control of the narrative. Something that can really help you be in control of the type of candidates that will go through your hiring process and subsequent interviews is to not just post and wait for candidates to apply. Instead, after searching through some profiles, you can invite some candidates to apply for the position. This way, you’ll have much more control over the type of candidate you’ll be interviewing and filter out the ones who maybe have the wrong motivations or are just not good quality candidates.
  3. Don’t hire for the fire. Take the time to truly understand the position you’re hiring for. Try to have a clear idea of what success looks like in that position. What kind of background are you looking for? What level of experience would you prefer candidates to have? This will help filter candidates and speed up the process. Anna’s advice is “don’t hire for the fire, hire for the long term.”


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Jason: [00:00:00] What’s up everybody? Jason Swenk here and I have another amazing episode for you where we talk about re, remote recruitment. If I can actually get that out, I don’t know why that’s so hard. But we’re going to talk about how to find the right senior-level managers and hiring them remotely, as well as how can we evaluate and make sure that the right one.

So, it’s a really good episode. Let’s go ahead and get into it.

Hey Anna, welcome to the show.

Anna: [00:00:32] Thanks so much for having me, Jason. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Jason: [00:00:36] Yeah, I’m excited. I almost wasn’t able to say remote recruitment. I don’t know why it’s such a tongue twister this morning for me. But for the people that don’t know who you are, tell us who you are and what do you do?

Anna: [00:00:48] Yeah, absolutely. So my name’s Anna Shcherbyna. I’m actually originally from Ukraine and I help online businesses all over the world, help them hire remote staff internationally. Uh, it’s been an incredible journey and the experience to work with companies that have all kinds of needs. And I believe, as you mentioned, we do focus on managerial and leadership positions, but we’ve always get some fun roles and fund requirements.

So it’s kind of the, uh, the new age of headhunting, so to speak, uh, at times that’s what it really comes down to.

Jason: [00:01:17] Awesome. Well, let’s go ahead and dive into it. Let’s talk about where can we find these people, right? So, you know, we’re, I’m an agency owner. I’m looking to get some more help, so I don’t have to make all the decisions. I need, like I already, I’m maxed out at managing these people. I want to build my team up. I think a lot of times people just default to going to LinkedIn or Craigslist or wherever. So what is your recommendation for people listening of how can they find some of these amazing talents?

Anna: [00:01:46] Yeah, absolutely. I do think that a lot of people, when they’re transitioning, especially into hiring remote staff, that’s where the challenge comes in because they still go back to the old websites.

As you mentioned, LinkedIn is very popular Craigslist, things like that. And it just doesn’t work for remote stuff. You want people who know what they’re doing and really have the right skills and abilities and understanding of the remote space. They’re not going to be there. I mean, you can find amazing people on LinkedIn, don’t get me wrong, but in terms of what we love to do, Upwork is actually one that surprises everyone.

I’ll say this because a lot of the times people assume that Upwork is for projects, just for projects for short term. But actually if someone’s new to the platform, they haven’t really realized how it works properly, and so you can find some incredible people who are just looking for that opportunity.

And a lot of them are looking for more consistency. So Upwork is an amazing one. Um, AngelList has been incredible for us. We’ve loved that. And also with AngelList, you kind of upgrade, there is an upgrade on there where you’re able to get access to their database, which is awesome. And then be able to go out and invite candidates.

We use Indeed, it’s actually been a lot better for remote hiring as well. Most recently, they’ve really done a lot of growth in that sense. So Indeed has been quite good. I’d say those are our top three, though we’re, we’re constantly experimenting.

So right now we’re trying out Dynamite Jobs, we’re trying out We Work Remotely. And I just say like, it’s really good to experiment. I’ve heard great. Like We Work Remotely is one that I’ve heard, works wonders, but not for all positions.

Those three that I mentioned is just, those have worked the best for us for the type of positions, like the managerial leadership type positions that we’re normally hiring for.

Jason: [00:03:25] So I thought AngelLists was really more for, and maybe they’ve, they’ve changed it. Or was it Angie’s list? Or am I thinking of the right? The same one.

Anna: [00:03:36] You definitely are. The same like I think before it was very much for startups like tech world, all of that. You have the right idea in mind. They definitely have evolved to now where you can find professionals of all kinds. They’re very remote-focused because, again, a lot of companies are going remote. And so it’s definitely an amazing, amazing website for finding great candidates.

Jason: [00:04:00] So let’s say we go on Upwork because, you know, I’ve, I’ve found really good designers on Upwork and, and stuff like that or people actually doing the work.

But if we’re looking like I know a lot of people listening in, they’re thinking, well, I need a manager. I don’t need someone to actually do the work. So like, how do I post something on Upwork going I need a Director of Ops or a Manager of Operations to come in.

So do I post something like that on Upwork? Because usually, it’s like, hey, I need this for what I understand. Like, I need someone to do, you know, this landing page or this logo or whatever it is.

Anna: [00:04:33] Yeah. I mean, here’s the thing, again, Upwork has incredible potential because it’s all about the mindset. When you go to LinkedIn, you’re trying to get people away from potentially those that already have jobs, whereas upward people are going on there already with the mindset of, hey, I need a job.

And as I mentioned, a lot of them, they are getting in there and they don’t really know how to break through, they don’t want to deal with the hassle of all these different clients.

And so something we do and something I always recommend is, it’s all about how you filter. So filter for the ones that don’t have a lot of success on Upwork, which is counterintuitive because most people are looking for the ones that have earned the most, have the best reputation… But those people are already successful, why would they go from client work back to full time? It’s, you know, they’re making a ton of money, they’ve made it on the platform. It doesn’t make sense for them.

So we’ll go ahead and post those types of high-level positions, head of ops and all of that. But the ones that are going to be inviting are usually the candidates who have limited experience on the platform. They are hungry for an opportunity and they are much more likely to take on that opportunity.

Jason: [00:05:36] Oh, that’s clever. That’s clever. And so let’s say we’re hiring a director of ops. What would you post on Upwork to in order to attract them to click on?

Anna: [00:05:47] So, okay. Two things here I want to say. So first of all, in the job description. I’d say definitely make it very personable. We get a lot of feedback that the more personable a job description is the better candidates react to it.

But I want to say that the trick that we have found really works isn’t about just posting and waiting for candidates to apply. We actually go out and invite candidates because then we take control of the narrative. Who’s applying the type of candidates, the quality, and also a lot of candidates are not checking every single day what’s, you know, what’s live.

And so you’re actually missing out on a ton of opportunity. So if you go out and that’s why I love, we love AngelList network, you can actually invite those candidates to apply and get so much better results rather than waiting around and getting candidates who maybe have the wrong motivations or just not good quality candidates, because they’re just, they’re applying because they need a job and they’re just clicking on everything.

Whereas when you’re inviting, there’s, you know, there’s a quality control there. So sometimes we even put a job post as private and so people won’t be able to actually apply unless we invite them.

Jason: [00:06:50] Oh, I like that. And so when you go into the search on Upwork or AngelList, is there other than, are you new? And like, you know, it’s actually a really good point of like, I don’t have much experience on the platform. They’re new. What else are you looking for?

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Anna: [00:07:07] Uh, requirements. It always comes down to the requirements. And I’ll be very honest, I think a lot of business owners don’t take the time to truly understand who they need and what will make those people successful.

When you have a clear understanding of what success looks like, like, okay, I’m going to need someone who has at least three years of experience in operations. They have, um, a background in recruitment, they have experience with running a SAS business or being an operation specialist in SAS, and you, if you’re looking through applicants and applications, you’ll be able to see those things.

So figuring out your requirements of what success looks like, and then really searching for those among the applications is going to make a huge difference.

Jason: [00:07:46] Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of us, and I’ve done this in the past, or I might be doing this right now. Who knows? I probably am. Thank you for beating me up because there, there’s a lot of us that we probably go, we just need a marketing associate.

But we really haven’t thought about what… we just want them just a marketing associate. We’ll just put them in, but really hasn’t identified what success looks like for that marketing associate and like, what do they have to have? I think that’s really very crucial that a lot of people actually skip over.

All right. So, so now that we’ve come up with the requirements, like, as we’ve done our homework, so you don’t yell at us, we don’t want you to yell at us.

And then we’ve gotten creative by using Upwork and AngelList and Indeed, and we’re starting to invite people to apply, which I, I’ve never thought about. Like, that’s brilliant. So, when people start applying, is there any special thing that I always try to bury something in the middle. Like, hey, you got to do this weird thing or put this to the subject titles, see if they actually read it.

Is there anything that you do like that? Or how do you evaluate to make sure that they’re not just padding their resume?

Anna: [00:08:58] Absolutely. Absolutely. So I always say create a process. And again, start at the beginning, right? Because let’s say you identify your top five kind of things for success, right? Your top five requirements for success. You can then translate that to, like, for example, for us, we do a questionnaire, a skill test, a video, you know, you can put steps in place that test for those initial requirements.

And that’s going to be so important to really identifying, not only do they have what it takes to be a great team member or a part of your team and really solve your problem, but it’s going to be able to also identify their motivations.

So being able to see that they’re going to jump through quite a few hoops before even having an interview. And a lot of people don’t want to do that. They’re like, yeah, thanks, I’m interested in this role, yeah, when can we chat? And we’re like, well, right after you go through our process. Apply here. And that actually filters through a lot of people who don’t really care too much.

I would say I’m not the biggest fan of adding like those little trick questions in job descriptions. Because people who are looking for jobs, they’re not as consistent in reading the job description, I would say. So definitely having the, the steps is a lot more of a thorough process to see, not only do they qualify, but they are really interested in the position and they’re going through and following through on the different steps.

Jason: [00:10:16] So walk us through the steps that you would take someone.

Anna: [00:10:18] Yeah, absolutely. So the, what we do is we have a questionnaire. So for example, let’s say you need five years of experience in Facebook, running Facebook ads. So we’ll ask: How many years of experience do you have in Facebook ads? What’s the budget that you have handled per month?

Uh, we’ll ask about what types of businesses have you done Facebook ads for? And there’ll be like a dropdown or check the boxes of which industries you’ve done.

So we we’ll add the requirements in the questionnaire, because that way, even if they didn’t read it, which sometimes happens, we’ll be able to filter through that. Because candidates say, hey, I actually don’t have this. Or I only have three years of experience.

So the questionnaire and yeah, like the questionnaire really helps assess that. Now we have a small skill test that we’ve created that tests for the hard and soft skills. We have done this internally and we’ve created what works for us.

But I talk about this all the time. Like I do a webinar now and again, and I talk about how there’s so many tests out there, like personality tests, hard skill tasks, like let’s say you even need to test somebody’s abilities with Facebook ads. There’s so many different tests out there. Do a bit of research, find what works for you and incorporate that in the process.

So having some sort of questionnaire looking into there, the requirements, if they meet them, having some sort of soft and hard skill test. It doesn’t have to be crazy long. Just a few questions here and there to understand and better filter those candidates. Then we have a video, which again, we’re asking a few questions.

We’re asking for a two minute video, super easy and straightforward. But again, we’re looking at, can they follow directions? Right? Can they actually respond at like, what are they saying? How are they saying it? What what’s the attitude that we’re getting? Is this something that they just put together, walking your dog on the street.

Which actually happens like we’ve either had like a girl in a farm. She’s walking around in her, like near her farm. She’s showing the farm. She’s like, hey, this is where I am. Absolutely not. But walking the dogs, driving in the car to work, I mean, we’ve got some crazy videos. Oh, a guy eating sushi. I think that was one of my favorites. He’s like, I’m going to wing this. So I just ordered some sushi, but it helps stand the mindset of candidates, how they work, like who they are as human beings, and really understand if that’s going to be a culture fit.

And it just says so much, their video say so much. And so, that really helps us understand. And it not only does it kind of test for their personalities and interests and things like that. We’re also looking at their English abilities. So we’re seeing, I mean, we’re hiring internationally and so we don’t want to waste time having an interview. If we don’t like it, they might be great at writing but then when it comes to speaking, they might not be able to, don’t have the abilities.

So that video really ticks a lot of boxes and a candidate usually doesn’t always, like they don’t really anticipate it, I would say, in terms of what’s really being expected.

But that’s what we’re looking out for, great communication skills and interest for the position, honest responses, a great environment. And then we’ll do the interviews and move into that phase. First interviews, client interviews, and then towards the end, we’ll do reference checks. So it’s quite a thorough process and it helps really collect all the information you need for a successful hire.

Jason: [00:13:27] Yeah, that’s crazy about the videos. You know, we, we ask for that as well. And I remember there was this one guy that we got a video I was getting so dizzy because he’s walking around his pool, like holding this and I’m like, h my God, and the shaking like, oh, stop.

Anna: [00:13:46] Yeah. Make it stop. Stop. Absolutely.

Jason: [00:13:50] That’s funny. Well, this has all been great, Anna, is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you think would help out the audience with their remote recruitment?

Anna: [00:14:00] Yeah, absolutely. Twister tongue twister of the day. I would just say that start from the very beginning and put the time to truly understand research the position you’re looking to hire for. Don’t hire for just a fire like that.

And we do all have fires. I have fires. We all have fires in the business that we need to take care of, but don’t hire for the fire. Okay. That’s not, I got a rhyme in there. Don’t hire for the fire, hire for the long term.

Jason: [00:14:25] It was like a Billy Joel. A Billy Joel song.

Anna: [00:14:28] Yeah. So definitely take the time to understand who you’re hiring for, what are the requirements, and what will they do once they have, you know, taken care of that fire. What’s that long-term plan? And when you have that, everything becomes so clear. So start from the beginning and best of your time from the very start to have a successful hire at the end.

Jason: [00:14:49] I love it. What’s a website people can go and check you out?

Anna: [00:14:52] Absolutely. So it’s,

Jason: [00:14:56] Awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. And if you guys enjoyed this episode, I want you guys to do something. Take a screenshot, go on Instagram and tag us and say, hey, I liked the show. And then we’ll give you a shout back.

Also, if you guys want to be around other agency owners, we have an amazing Facebook community. It’s free. It’s totally free. Just go to and request access into it. We asked a couple of questions just to make sure you’re an agency owner, and you have a team.

That’s the requirement in order to get into there so you can ask the relevant questions and protect the community. So go to and you’ll go to that page. And until next time I have a Swenk day.

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